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Clinton bar owner says he'll defy Pritzker's coronavirus order

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Snapper's Bar and Grill in downtown Clinton.

CLINTON — On Tuesday morning, if you want to find the owner of Snapper’s Bar and Grill, Joe Sartie, drop in on him in downtown Clinton. His door will be open.

Sartie is one of a handful of owners struggling with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s order to close bars and restaurants for indoor seating in an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

“This is my Alamo,” he said.

Sartie doesn’t expect his employees to work and they will get paid regardless. But Sartie will be on duty.

“How am I supposed to pay my employees and utilities and everything else if we are closed?” he asked. “I may lose this battle, but I run a business. I need to be open.”

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Pritzker announced Sunday that the state will be working closely with restaurant owners and food delivery services to ensure kitchens can safely remain open to continue food delivery and put in place drive-thru and curbside pickup options. Snapper’s doesn’t have a drive-thru and is located on the square in downtown Clinton, making curbside delivery problematic, at best.

Sartie said the announcement came too quickly and didn’t give owners any time to prepare.

Just minutes after Pritzker’s announcement, Sartie posted on Snapper’s Facebook page his disappointment with the announcement. “Enough is enough,” was among the sentiments he wrote.

The post had more than 320 comments within 90 minutes, both for and against Sartie’s reaction. He was told it was shared more than 1,000 times.

“I had to ask if that was a lot,” he said. “When I post stuff, I just drop the phone and go do something else and don’t even look.”

He removed the post after his family began receiving negative feedback.

Sartie said his anger about Pritzker’s decision will not fade quickly.

“Who enforces something like that?” he said. “Nobody has ever seen anything like this before. I don’t know who knows what happens.”

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Contact Kevin Barlow at (309) 820-3238. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_barlow


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Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Sunday engaged in a high-profile battle with the White House over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, a battle that began when hundreds of international travelers returning to the United States were bottlenecked at the Customs and Border Control checkpoint at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.

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